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Old 05-09-12, 09:37 AM   #1
A_Jackets
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480 Miles with No Experience...???

Well I am a 24 year old bike enthusiast. I bike almost daily and am in great shape. Because of some things that have happened recently in my life, I have decided I would start living life to the fullest and start checking things off of my ever growing 1000 things to do before I die list. One thing I have always wanted to do is bike the Katy Trail in MO. It is a 240 mile trail. I live close to one of the starting points. I have never biked long distances (100+) but I know I have the day to day endurance to do this. I am a very fit person from swimming and running everyday. I am planning on doing this either next month or early fall (depending on which one of my similarly crazy friends I convince to do this with me). I will have a total of 9 days for the round trip (480 miles), which should be more than enough but I want to do some sightseeing/exploring along the way. For me it isn't about accomplishing this feat as much as it is about the adventure of it all ("The journey is the destination" - Dan Eldon). I will be using my Mt. Bike mainly because I have used that bike so much and know that bike so well there is no way I would feel comfortable on any other bike. I regularly replace/fix issues with my bike and it will be reliable. I am planning on only bringing one backpack with light materials and some food. We will be staying at hotels. I am not planning on making reservations so there is no pressure other than explore and end up where we end up.

So I have come here for suggestions and advice. Things maybe I haven't thought about yet....What should I bring....What should I expect from this particular trail? Anybody here been on it?
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Old 05-09-12, 09:58 AM   #2
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I'm moving this to touring. Plenty of threads about the Katy Trail in touring, I think it's a great idea and would be a lot of fun.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:04 AM   #3
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Just go and have fun.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:05 AM   #4
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If you are in as good a shape as you say, you won't have any trouble doing it. 50-odd miles per day is very doable. Check out this link.

It sounds like a lot of fun! I'm planning to incorporate the KATY into my transamerica, so do let us know how you did!
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Old 05-09-12, 10:10 AM   #5
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Do some week-end trial trips first. to help sort out the excess Kit..

rather than mail it home in a week..

crazyguyonabike does the packing list thing as submitted many times
so go there and look around.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:29 AM   #6
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Finally, someone with no experience and a feasible plan.

My main suggestion is to get some racks and bags on the bike. Old Man Mountain, among others, make racks that should fit just fine on a mountain bike frame. Cycling 500 miles with a lot of gear on your back isn't comfortable.

Have fun....
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Old 05-09-12, 10:36 AM   #7
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I back the rack idea. I don't even ride short distances with a backpack. Don't forget bottle cages and some extra food in case you get hungry along the way.

Oh, and I'm plotting a Katy trip here as well. If you come across a small group in the fall, two of 'em skittering their way along on Bike Friday road bikes, give us a wave.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:37 AM   #8
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Check out this website: http://www.bikekatytrail.com/
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Old 05-09-12, 10:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
Check out this website: http://www.bikekatytrail.com/
Great resource
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Old 05-09-12, 11:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by A_Jackets View Post
. I am planning on only bringing one backpack with light materials and some food. We will be staying at hotels. I am not planning on making reservations so there is no pressure other than explore and end up where we end up.

So I have come here for suggestions and advice. Things maybe I haven't thought about yet....What should I bring....What should I expect from this particular trail? Anybody here been on it?
If it's a hard tail get a basic rack with flat plate and put your backpack on it or consider frame bags to get weight off your back.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:06 AM   #11
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On the backpack issue... It depends on how much you are carrying. Since you plan on staying at hotels it might actually make sense. I would probably take 4-7 pounds of stuff, and maybe less if doing that trip and credit carding it. That is easily managed in a backpack or even just a large handlebar bag. If you take the right clothing, it will pack pretty small if stuffed in tiny stuff sacks.
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Old 05-09-12, 11:46 AM   #12
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do it! sounds like you are thinking reasonably and the only suggestion I have is to consider racks/panniers to a back pack as they are much more comfortable. If you plan on doing some hiking off the route then a backpack may be a good idea though.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:05 PM   #13
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If it's a hardtail (no rear suspension) mountain bike, just get a cheap rack and a milk crate to throw your backpack in if you don't want to spring for panniers or other bags that you might not use again. Katy Trail is nice, and if you get bored riding back the exact same way you came (and don't mind some hills) you can cut onto county and state roads here and there to mix things up. Don't worry too much - just go, but bring a road map with you as well. 9 days for 480 miles gives you a ton of room to make any possible mistakes - and if you are a strong rider, you could probably cover the whole thing there and back in 4-5 days if need be.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:26 PM   #14
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Per others, try and get a rear frame or seat post rack for the backpack. You'll enjoy the riding so much more.
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Old 05-09-12, 02:04 PM   #15
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Go for it. A rack with bag or panniers would be much more comfortable than a backpack and allow you to carry more changes of clothes, which would probably be your biggest need if staying in hotels. You don't want to wear the same cycling (and street) clothes every day. Even if washing cycling clothes, they need time to dry between uses.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:30 PM   #16
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Just got back from an overnighter out to Klondike State Park and back from STL. Your plan sounds fine.
Plan your trip carefully and book your rooms in advance. Lodging is pretty scarce along some areas. So is water. I'd also consider swapping out knobby tires with some smoother ones, as you'll make better time.
Another vote for a rack to stash the backpack on.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:51 PM   #17
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If you cycle every day, you do have experience. And 480 miles in 9 days isn't a terribly strenuous pace (53 miles/day).

You also have experience in the fact that you intend to ride the bicycle you've been riding, a bicycle you're used to and familiar with. And it sounds like you have some bicycle mechanic experience/knowledge as well if you're intending to fix up any issues with it before the tour.

This sort of tour is a very good starting place ... try cycletouring, see how you like it, see how it feels to ride slightly longer distances every day.


Others have suggested it as well ... get a rack. If you have eyelettes and can get a full rack, go that route. If you don't have eyelettes, go with a seatpost rack. Then get a trunk bag. Personally, I like Carradice bags, but others will do as well. I'd also recommend a handlebar bag. If you're planning to stay at hotels, that combination should work to carry your tools, tire changing equipment, clothing, toiletries, and perhaps an emergency bivy in case you aren't able to get into a hotel one night.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:38 PM   #18
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A USGI poncho and an SOL emergency bivy will set you back about $30 and makes a good emergency shelter system. Also, Wal Mart has some $9 7'x5' camping tarps that are reasonable quality and pack up super small. I like the poncho option cause it's rain gear, too.
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